Mayor Bloomberg's new foundation is taking shape and philanthropic experts say it will most certainly enter into the country's top tier of foundations once it's in full swing.
Yesterday, the World Health Organization announced a two-year, $9 million grant from the Bloomberg Family Foundation to conduct a pilot program in Vietnam and Mexico designed to reduce the number of traffic deaths.
The grant is the second the mayor's personal foundation has doled out. The first was $125 million to combat tobacco use worldwide over several years. Taken together, the two projects offer a window into the kind of public health work the foundation is likely to donate to and the global reach it will have.
The grant announcement came on the same day that Mr. Bloomberg disclosed the names of about 1,000 organizations he and his company, Bloomberg L.P., donated to last year.
The $165 million in charitable contributions was nearly a 15% increase from the $143.8 million Mr. Bloomberg gave in 2005.
The single-spaced, 21-page list of organizations that Mr. Bloomberg gave money to has a heavy emphasis on New York City groups, Jewish organizations, the arts, and health organizations. The groups ranged from the Apollo Theater Foundation to the Center for Jewish History.
Since taking office in 2002, Mr. Bloomberg's charitable giving has increased substantially, with the biggest jump coming this year amid speculation about whether he's planning a third-party bid for president or whether he'll go on to become a full-time philanthropist, as he says he plans to.
Mr. Bloomberg has purchased two adjacent $40 million buildings on the Upper East Side to house the new foundation. His office says the buildings will undergo renovations and be connected internally.
The editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Stacy Palmer, said that while the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation dwarfs every philanthropic group in the country, Mr. Bloomberg will likely be in "one of the top five philanthropies in the country."